Page images
PDF
EPUB

prospect of entering his father's office, and to obtain a berth as “boy' on a Scottish vessel, the Blair Athol, trading to Rio de Janeiro with coal. A year or so later, after he had endured, none too willingly, the hardships that belong to life before the mast, he went to Magdeburg as agent for his father's firm, and in this position, which he occupied for about two years he acquired a knowledge of mercantile life which was, no doubt, of considerable use to him when he started his career at the Bar. His subsequent experiences as a member of the Stock Exchange, though they did not immediately make for success, were equally valuable to him when he adopted the profession in which he was destined to rise to so eminent a place. It was in 1887 that, reading with the late Sir John Lawson Walton, he was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple. After a certain experience of County Court work, he quickly made his way into the fore. most ranks of the Junior Bar, and in 1898, only eleven years after he was called, he was appointed a Q. C. From this point his career was extraordinary in its rapidity. At first his work as a leader lay chiefly in the Commercial Court, where the late Mr. Justice Walton, then the leader of the Court, was his principal opponent. It was in 1900, when Sir Edward Carson's appointment as Solicitor-General occasioned his withdrawal from the ordinary work of the Courts, that the new Lord Chief Justice leapt into that commanding position at the Bar which he shewed he was so well qualified to hold. His Parliamentary career began in 1904, when he was returned for Reading, the constituency for which he has continued to sit. His first appointment as a Law Officer was in the early part of 1910, when, upon the promotion of Sir Samuel Evans to the presidency of the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division, he became Solicitor-General. Some six months later, upon the appointment of Sir William Robson as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, he succeeded to the Attorney-Generalship, his tenure of which will always be notable because he was the first occupant of the office to be made a Cabinet Minister. These are the main facts of the new Lord Chief Justice's career. The qualities by which he has gained so high a place in the most competitive calling in the world may be stated less baldly. Sir Rufus Isaacs did not achieve his forensic success by any extraordinary gifts of eloquence. He has not had at his command the polished rhetoric of a Coleridge or the passionate oratory of a Russell. Not that he lacks the gift of impressive speech. Lord Bowen once described Russell as an “elemental force,” and there have been occasions calling for some passionate note on which the phrase might not inaptly have been applied to Sir Rufus Isaacs. As a speaker, however, he has, except on very rare occasions, been content to be lucid rather than eloquent, persuasive rather than dazzling. "Though deep, yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull; Strong without rage; without o'erflowing, full.

His real strength as an advocate has lain in his swift and easy grasp of facts, in his unerring sense of what is essential and tactful, and in his remarkable powers of crossexamination. No advocate of modern times has shewn a readier skill in the handling of witnesses. Others may have been more dramatic in their methods, but none has used the art of cross-examination more effectively as a means of eliciting the truth. His style of advocacy, whether in addressing a jury in a sensational case or in arguing an important point of law before a judge, has been marked by a wholesome disregard of the pedantic and technical. He has always fought on the large points rather than on the small, and has conducted his cases with so fine a sense of fairness that, when he has triumphed, even the “ranks of Tuscany could scarce forebear to cheer.”

With the Bar the relations of the new Lord Chief Justice have always been most happy. He has displayed a camaraderie which has made him immensely popular with all ranks of the profession. Even when the pressure of his enormous practice has been most heavy his cheeriness of mood and sense of comradeship, appreciated by the humblest junior no less than by his nearest rival, have never deserted him. Unlike the serjeant in the “Canterbury Tales,” he has seemed less busy than he was, and has always found time for those little touches of intimate courtesy which make a great leader of the Bar so popular with his fellows. The affectionate regard in which the new Lord Chief Justice is held by the Bar has frequently been expressed by its leaders. Speaking at a dinner given in honour of Sir Rufus Isaacs when he was appointed Attorney-General Sir John Simon used these words: “It is his warm-hearted willingness to be friendly to his juniors, more than even his splendid qualities of intellect, which has caused his appointment as head of the profession to be welcomed by every member of the Bar.” His doughtiest opponent, Sir Edward Carson, who was present on the same occasion, observed that Sir Rufus had always preserved the highest traditions of the Bar of England, and that, though he hit hard, he never hit below the belt. “The surest way of finding out whether a man is a good fellow,” Sir John Holker once said to Lord James of Hereford, “is to see whether, after a hard day's fighting at nisi prius, you want to walk back from Westminster to the Temple with him.” Sir Rufus Isaacs never had an opponent who did not desire to walk homewards with him. The warm tribute which Sir Edward Clarke paid to Sir Rufus Isaacs at the annual meeting of the Barristers’ Benevolent Association is so fresh in the memory of the profession that it need not be further recalled. The high regard in which Sir Rufus Isaacs has been held by the Bench was fitly expressed by Lord Sumner of Ibstone at the recent Hardwicke banquet, when he described him as having uniformly shewn at the Bar “the ardour of an athlete and the spirit of a sportsman.” The possession of the qualities to which these tributes have been paid—the unremitting industry, the large knowledge of legal principles, the ready grasp of facts, the innate sense of fairness, the serenity of temper and the dignity of demeanour which Sir Rufus Isaacs has always displayed at the Bar—makes it certain that he will worthily maintain the highest traditions of the historic office which he now fills.

The Law Journal.

[merged small][ocr errors]

TORONTO AND YORK RADIAL RAILWAY CO. v. CORPORATION OF THE CITY OF TORONTO.

Appeal was heard by THE LORD CHANCELLOR, Lond SHAW, and LoRD MoULTON.

Sir Robert Finlay, K.C., C. A. Moss, and Geoffrey Lawrence, for the appellants.

W. O. Danckwerts, K.C., and Irving S. Fairty, for the respondents, were not called upon.

This is an appeal by leave of the Supreme Court of Ontario from an order of the Appellate Division of that Court, dated the 13th day of February, 1913, allowing an appeal from an order of the Ontario Railway and Municipal Board, pronounced on the 17th day of June, 1912, and setting aside such order. The history of the litigation in this matter is as follows:—

The Toronto and York Radial Railway Company is a railway company which, so far as is material to the decision of the present case, may be taken to be the successors in law to the Metropolitan Street Railway Company of Toronto, which was incorporated by an Act of Legislature of the Province of Ontario, passed in the 40th year of the reign of Queen Victoria, and chaptered 84, for the purpose of constructing, maintaining, and operating railways upon and along streets and highways within the jurisdiction of the Corporation of the City of Toronto, and of any of the adjoining municipalities as they might be authorized to pass along, under and subject to any agreement thereafter to be made between that company and the councils of the said city, and of the said municipalities, and subject to any bylaws of the same.

At the date of the passing of the said Act, and until the first day of January, 1888, the portion of Yonge street to which this case relates, was within the county of York, but by proclamation dated the 24th September, 1887, the boundaries of the city of Toronto were extended so as to

include a portion of such county, such proclamation to take effect from the 1st day of January, 1888. By virtue of such extension, almost the whole of the aforesaid portion of Yonge street became included within the boundaries of the city of Toronto, but a small portion at the northern end situated opposite to and to the south of Farnham avenue still remained within the county of York.

Prior to the above-mentioned extension of the boundaries of the city of Toronto, and while the said portion of Yonge street was still within the county of York, an agreement dated the 25th June, 1884, was made between the Municipal Council of such county and the Metropolitan Street Railway Company of Toronto. By the terms of that agreement the railway company obtained the right to construct, maintain, complete, and operate a rail track in, upon, and along the above portion of Yonge street, such track to be located and constructed on the west side only of the said street, according to plans to be approved. The company undertook to run at least two cars each way, morning and evening, on a regular time table at such times as would best meet the wants of the residents and the general public. The privilege and franchise granted by the agreement were to extend over a period of 21 years from its date, and subject to the observance of the conditions and agreements therein contained (which covered many matters not directly relevant to the present dispute), the company were to have the exclusive right and privilege to construct a street rail, or tramway in and upon the said portion of Yonge street. By a further agreement between the same parties, dated the 20th day of January, 1886, the privileges granted by the preceding agreement were confirmed and enlarged in various respects not relevant to the present case, otherwise than that, by clause 16 of this agreement, the privilege and franchise granted by it in the previous agreement were made to extend over a period of 31 years from the 25th day of June, 1884, so that they will expire in June, 1915.

It is solely under the two agreements above referred to that the Metropolitan Street Railway Company of Toronto acquired, and that their successors, the present appellants, possess the right to maintain and operate the street railway along the portion of Yonge street to which this case relates, and they are bound in respect of such privileges and franchise by all the terms and conditions of such agreements. Very

« PreviousContinue »